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Epilepsy

Nearly 3 million people in the United States suffer from epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Each year, approximately 200,000 new cases are diagnosed.

At WVU’s Epilepsy Center, which has been awarded a top ranking by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, neurologists work with specialists from neurosurgery, neuropsychology, neuroradiology, and psychiatry to identify the part of the brain that is causing the epileptic seizures. Using a 3- T MRI machine, which has twice the imaging capability as other imaging techniques, WVU epilepsy specialists can identify the focus area in the brain that causes seizures to occur. Once the area is localized, our physicians are able to design individualized, pharmacological treatment plans for patients. For those patients who do not respond to medication, surgical intervention to remove the epileptic focus may offer a cure or a reduction in the frequency, as well as the severity, of seizures.

NAEC Level 3 Epilepsy Center

WVU’s Epilepsy Center provides state-of-the-art care for adults and children who have seizures. Our level 4 center, active since 2002, helps patients throughout the region.

Level 4 is the highest level awarded by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This label means that we help people from around the region and across the country, giving them the most up-to-date therapy for epilepsy.

Our team is made up of specialists in neuropsychology, and neuroradiology. Your own doctor is also a key part of your team, and we are committed to working together. To learn more about epilepsy, please visit these websites:

 

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

In the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), located on the 9th floor of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, we use EEG video monitoring to find and record a seizures onset. Our goal is to record multiple seizures but avoid prolonged seizures or convulsions. The EMU consists of seven beds with 24-hour onsite EEG technician service and dedicated nursing. Typical length of stay in the EMU is five to seven days.

Neuroimaging and Neuropsychological Evaluation

Neuroimaging is vital to an advanced epilepsy evaluation. A high-resolution MRI is the most important means of capturing neuro-images (pictures of activity in the brain) because of its excellent spatial resolution and detail.

When it’s hard to tell where the seizures are located, ictal SPECT may show an area of hyperperfusion corresponding to the seizure focus. FDG-PET is used at WVU to identify metabolic defects that may correspond to the seizures focus. In the Center for Advanced Imaging at WVU, we are dedicated to improving our ability to identify a seizure focus using advanced imaging techniques.

The neuropsychological evaluation establishes a cognitive baseline, determines memory reserve, and identifies cognitive defects that may point to a seizure focus. This evaluation takes place in an outpatient setting in a single day.

Dr. Ali Rezai, executive chair of the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, lays out his bold, new vision for neuroscience at WVU. Joining Dr. Rezai are WVU President Gorden Gee, Albert Wright, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia University Health System, and Clay Marsh, MD, vice president and executive dean for Health Science at WVU.

Research drives patient care at any large academic medical center. As stroke treatment has dramatically evolved in the past decade, WVU Medicine’s neurointerventionists have emerged as national leaders in their relatively new field. Here, Ansaar Rai, MD, WVU Medicine Radiology vice chair of clinical operations, discusses the past and present of stroke treatment.

Neurosurgeons treat their patients through the use of a delicate, targeted procedure; the best neurosurgeons are skilled at several. WVU Medicine neurosurgeon Robert A. Marsh, MD, PhD, says his best approach is unique to each patient, and considers wishes as well as needs.

WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute